How to Boost Your Sales Funnel at Every Stage, from Top to Bottom 

Every marketer knows that finding new customers today is a multi-step process. It requires several touchpoints and channels, each an opportunity to connect and interact with potential audiences, warming them up until the point of conversion. In fact, the average customer journey from awareness to relevance has no less than 12 touchpoints.

The customer journey, even if it’s very long, always starts in the same place: awareness. Simply put, a consumer needs to know you exist before they can get to know you, consider your product, and become a customer. 

Beyond awareness, there is the journey of engagement, consideration, and finally conversion. In an era of longer sales funnels, and customer journeys that bounce across multiple platforms and devices, it’s more important than ever to connect with your audience every step of the way. Whether your marketing goal is to drive awareness, engage potential consumers who are interested in your brand, or drive hard conversions like sales, what you need is a full-funnel marketing solution that can provide the relevant touchpoints and interactions at the right time.

Let’s explore the three main parts of the customer funnel – top, middle, and bottom – and how Outbrain’s robust publisher network and suite of performance-driven ads can be the full-funnel solution that you need now.

Top of Funnel: Brand Awareness

Making consumers aware of your brand is the first step to acquiring new customers. By targeting broadly, such as the regions you operate in, you can cast a wide net and build awareness among relevant audiences wherever they are online. If you choose to go the native advertising route, you can make your awareness campaigns even more targeted with Outbrain’s proprietary Interest Targeting tool, and get sharper exposure to potential customers who are interested in your product, service, or associated categories. 

Awareness campaigns are also a great way to “warm up” potential customers. Use an awareness campaign to build an audience list, and create retargeting audiences to follow up with later on in the sales funnel.

Case in point: Together with agency Segmenta Communications, Bosch created and ran an Outbrain campaign to increase brand awareness for their innovative devices. The results? 30% increase in general brand uplift, and 25% increase in purchase intent. The combination of great creative assets and placements on Outbrain’s premium network helped them achieve their top-of-funnel awareness goals.

Mid Funnel: Customer Engagement

Whether you are a global brand or new startup, engaging with potential customers is essential to earning their trust and proving your relevance. One of the most effective ways to do this is with content marketing: creating and promoting editorial content that is interesting and engaging to your target audience and addresses their needs and pain points. 

Native advertising on the open web is a powerful channel for content marketing. After all, 87% of consumers prefer native ads over banners, and native ads have 40% more engagement compared to traditional display ads.

In addition to its premium publisher network on the open web, Outbrain’s interest and contextual targeting options help you get exposure among consumers who may be interested in your brand, especially if you don’t yet have any retargeting audiences set up. Regardless of your targeting, a surefire way to get clicks from relevant audiences is by calling them out in the creative assets you use. Headlines that speak directly to your audience like “Millennials: is buying a home in your future?” and images that feature your buyer personas are great places to start.

This is also the perfect phase of the funnel to try and get a “soft” conversion that can help you down the road. For example, offering a newsletter signup is a great way to keep in touch with engaged consumers.

Case in point: Ferrero Rocher, makers of the gold wrapped chocolates we all know and love, wanted to engage more with their customers in the leadup to the holiday season. They took the great content they had already created, paired it with stunning images, and amplified it on Outbrain. By the end of their campaign, they had generated over 100K website visits with a 28% increase in time on site compared to their social campaigns, and a 33% increase in time on site compared to traditional display.

Bottom of Funnel: Conversions

When it comes time to get that coveted “hard” conversion, whether it be making a sale, booking a demo, or installing an app, it may surprise you to learn that native advertising is an effective tactic for conversion campaigns. If you’re already using Outbrain for your upper funnel advertising, you are sitting on a trove of data you can use to make your campaign more successful. But even if this is your first Outbrain campaign, the potential for success is still yours.

It’s typical across all channels and platforms for hard conversions to cost more than soft conversions. For this reason, Outbrain always encourages advertisers to optimize their campaigns with performance data to make the most of their budget. To optimize your bottom of funnel campaigns most efficiently, we recommend using automated bidding strategies, which are specially designed to optimize campaigns towards pre-defined conversion goals. 

Case in point: Vivo did exactly this when promoting their new X70 smartphone. The brand decided to use Outbrain to both amplify engaging video content, as well as reconnect with potential customers and drive them to a landing page to purchase a new phone. To get the most out of their campaign, Vivo used Outbrain’s Conversion Bid Strategy (CBS) when targeting their already engaged audience, leading to over 500% increase in ROAS and a 69% lower CPC compared to search.

From awareness through engagement and conversions, are you ready to make Outbrain your new full-funnel solution? Get started today!

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